Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Eileen Gloster on North Adams Mayor John Barrett III & his appalling bad boy bullying behavior!

-

-
----------

"Appalled by mayor's actions"
The North Adams Transcript - Letters
Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To the Editor:

As a teacher and member of the executive board of the North Adams Teachers Association, I have urged our city leaders to consider switching to a comparable, yet more affordable, health insurance plan. Our current premiums are among the highest in the state.

Meanwhile, a publicly available analysis has shown that if North Adams switched to the GIC, (The Group Insurance Commission, which carries the plans currently offered to state employees and legislators), the city and its employees could realize combined savings of roughly $1. 5 million. The mayor has disputed those figures but has not presented evidence to the contrary.

With this much money at stake, and in these hard times, shouldn't the two sides at least agree to sit down and bargain the issue in good faith? And so, I welcomed Mayor John Barrett's invitation -- as reported in the Dec. 2 Transcript -- to come to City Hall because "his door is open to any union employee who wants to see the real figures." I asked my MTA field representative, Cindy Polinsky, to join me, and we arrived at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

The meeting began pleasantly enough. Cindy and I stopped at the mayor's office and were directed to Nancy Ziter's office by the mayor's assistant. Ms. Ziter invited us in, and we began a very respectful discussion.

Suddenly, Mayor John Barrett charged into the room and screamed, "GET OUT!" During the roughly 20-minute harangue that followed, the mayor shouted at Cindy, his finger inches from her face at times. At one point, the mayor directed Ms. Ziter to call the police, which she began to do.

I told the mayor that I was a city resident and employee and that Cindy was there at my request. Cindy had already explained that, as my union designee, she had every right to be there. I found it bizarre to be in the position of defending anyone's right to be at City Hall. But it didn't matter. The mayor continued shouting at us and then began to shout for the commissioner of public safety. Finally, the mayor made clear that, as a city employee on the city's health insurance, I could stay. But the mayor insisted that Cindy leave.

I hadn't come looking for a fight. I had come to discuss legitimate concerns and to see "real figures" within the public domain, in a public building. But it seemed clear that the mayor would have Cindy thrown out or arrested if she didn't leave. No professional, constructive discussion was possible, so we left.

I am appalled and disappointed that the man I have long supported and even defended as "always having the best interest of the city at heart" would behave in such a manner.

Argue with us, disagree with us, get passionate about your position. No problem. We welcome vigorous and respectful debate. But this encounter started at a level beyond absurd and quickly got worse. It doesn't seem too much to expect that our city officials treat people with decency and respect. I think it's time we demand it.

Because of the mayor's unwillingness to negotiate, the city has missed its chance to join the GIC in the upcoming fiscal year and lost the accompanying savings. It is my hope that Mayor Barrett will quickly comply with our request to make available the important and legitimate information that he has promised to provide and that he will sit down with the coalition of unions to explore and bargain over affordable health care. Let's not miss another opportunity.

Eileen Gloster
North Adams, Massachusetts
Dec. 8, 2008
Publication Name:NAT-Daily
Priority: Sent NAT-WWW

----------

"Let the Finance Committee do its job"
The North Adams Transcript, Letters, 7/22/2009

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my dismay that the North Adams City Council has voted to keep information about the city finances out of the hands of the Finance Committee. And I feel I must share some information that came my way back in late December -- information that led the unions to believe both that city employees were being overcharged -- and that the mayor knew it.

First, a little necessary history: Last year, my union rep and I tried to see health insurance information the mayor had said was available. We were cordially meeting with Business Manager Nancy Ziter when the mayor charged into her office, shouted at us, and eventually threw my union rep out of City Hall.

I tell my students that to do nothing when someone is being bullied gives the bully too much power. And so, in part to practice what I preach, I wrote a letter to the editor about that experience. A link to the letter is available at the North Adams Teachers Association Website at http://northadams.massteacher.org.

Sometime later, I got a phone call from Kathy Eade, the city’s former administrative officer. She told me that after reading that letter, she had to call me. She had become too uncomfortable living with knowledge she had of an injustice and felt compelled to come forward. Ms. Eade told me that one of the reasons she left her job at City Hall was because she believed city employees were paying more than their fair share of the health insurance costs and that the mayor knew it.

During that phone call and in some conversations thereafter, Ms. Eade told me that in the spring of 2008, she had reviewed a spreadsheet that had been prepared at City Hall, which revealed that for several years, city employees were paying more than their 30 percent share of health insurance costs. She told me that the spreadsheet documented one year in particular where it looked like city employees were paying nearly 35 percent of health insurance costs. Ms. Eade told me that it was her understanding that the mayor had also seen this spreadsheet.

What were we to do with this information? Before making any such serious assertions about an unfair split, we wanted to see for ourselves if there was enough information available to support this claim. And so began a very time-consuming process of getting documents.

Under Mass Public Information law, we asked for the spreadsheet that Ms. Eade had seen. The city denied our request, citing exemptions allowable by law. The Police Association has appealed this request to the supervisor of Public Records. (We find it telling that at the City Council meeting, when Chairman Marden asked if there were records we have not yet received, that the mayor would not allow Nancy Ziter to answer any of the unions’ questions.)

We also requested additional raw data from the city, so we could see for ourselves what the numbers revealed.

Fifteen hundred documents and many months later, we have finally drawn our own conclusions that the employees have indeed been overcharged. We wonder if our conclusions and the ones we believe were already reached by the city are the same. If their documentation still exists, we would like to see it. (You can see some of our numbers, analysis, and documentation for yourself at our Web site. )

This whole process has been a difficult and time-consuming one. It took us the winter and into the spring to get the documentation -- minus the spreadsheet, and additional months to carefully look at the data that we obtained from City Hall and have it analyzed by the independent firm Boston Benefits Partners. And so it was not until this summer that the unions felt we had enough documentation, analysis, and support to make our beliefs public.

Mediation, arbitration, and hearings with the Division of Labor Relations will take months, or even years, to conclude -- and will cost lots of money in legal fees. If the issue could be resolved at a local level, it would save everyone involved time and money.

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, ALL the unions that have filed grievances or charges offered to hold ALL litigation in abeyance if the Finance Committee would look into this in a timely manner. We would like the city to take us up on this offer.

It’s time for open government in North Adams. Let the committee charged with overseeing the city finances do its job.

Eileen Gloster
North Adams, Massachusetts
July 21, 2009
Eileen Gloster is the Vice President of the North Adams Teachers Association.
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/north-adams-transcript/TKL20G14N7KSCK02J
-
----------

THE ADVOCATE (WEEKLY): A View From Adams
"City unions, meet reality"
By BILL DONOVAN, Thursday, December 11, 2008

North Adams city unions must be living in a dream world.

The union's members want the city of North Adams to join the state-run Group Insurance Commission. They claim $1.5 million in savings could be made by the city.

North Adams Mayor John Barrett III says the cost savings claimed by the union just aren't there. He believes enrolling the city in the GIC could be very costly down the road for city taxpayers and would also be a bad deal for the city's employees themselves.

He believes the whole story is simply not being told by the city's municipal union leaders and that there is a disconnect between the union leaders and the rank-and-file workers.

Last summer, the union leaders asked the city to explore the possibility of joining the GIC. To help make their case, the North Adams Teachers' Association brought in a consulting group called Boston Benefits Partners. Interestingly, they never revealed that another one of their clients was the GIC itself. The consultants were promoting one client to another client.

The main selling point Boston Benefits and the city unions made for GIC was cost savings. When making their presentation, however, the figures they used were based on a premium split of 85 percent for the city and 15 percent for the employee, instead of the split the city currently offers, which is 70 percent city and 30 percent employee. This change in the payment split would make it a very good plan in the eyes of city employees. But it would be very costly for the city.

The mayor knew the only cost savings would be to the union members, and that the city simply could not absorb that large an increase. The city then approached Health New England, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield, and asked if they would offer additional alternative plans without changing the existing Blue Cross Blue Shield plan at all.

By going directly to the members without changing the existing plan in any way, the city put union leaders in a quandary. Participation in the expensive GIC plan was removed as a bargaining chip. That's when the union's leadership, realizing that this would derail their plans, threw a temper tantrum and filed unfair labor practice charges against the city.

What is ironic about all of this is that the union leaders are protesting the city's attempt to lower rates directly, while at the same time, the GIC commission is going to be raising rates on all of its plans midyear. Copayments and deductible amounts will also double. This is because Gov. Patrick recently announced the state's funding of the GIC was being reduced by $32 million.

And guess what? It looks like he will have to lower the state's contribution even further next year. That will mean even greater premium and copayment and deductible hikes for the GIC.

The mayor certainly is not alone in his concern about enrollment in the GIC for the city of North Adams. Out of 351 Massachusetts cities and towns, only 21 have decided to participate.

The city also has offered each and every union member a very fair wage package for not just one year, but three years. They have rejected it.

Do they read the newspapers? Can they see the country is in a national recession, and the state coffers are being emptied at an alarming rate?

Whenever the city has faced tough economic times in the past, any necessary reduction in force has always been done by attrition. And in these tight budget times, when layoffs and givebacks are the order of the day in the private sector, the mayor has tried to avoid cutting real live people, especially in the city schools.

In the real world that sounds like a pretty fair deal. The union leadership would be doing its members a favor if the leaders stopped fighting for a bad insurance program and started focusing on a fair wage settlement.
-
Bill Donovan lives and writes in Adams. Send along any feedback to news@advocateweekly.com.
-
----------

"Confronting the cost of civic health plans"
By Tony Dobrowolski, The Berkshire Eagle, Sunday, June 28, 2009

PITTSFIELD -- With increased health care costs adding strain to cities and towns trying to craft budgets around shrinking state revenues, a proposal to exempt municipal health plans from collective bargaining, drew support here last week from Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael J. Widmer.

He told a Chamber of Commerce breakfast Wednesday that his organization favors such legislation drafted by the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

"Health care is the area in which the costs have been going up across the nation, but in municipalities at a greater rate than the state," Widmer said. "One of the key factors is that officials can't even make the most minor changes in heath plans without going through collective bargaining. To go from a $5 to a $10, co-pay you have to get [approval] from every union, which is virtually impossible, and you have to give something up to achieve that.

"This proposal says simply that municipal officials should have the same right in designing health plans as the state has through the Group Insurance Commission and outside collective bargaining," he said.

In an interview following his speech, Widmer said the changes would allow municipal officials to craft health plans similar to the GIC, which includes more co-pays, different products and boarder payment options than most municipal health plans.

"The GIC does not have to negotiate with the unions, but municipalities do," he said. "So, we're saying give the municipalities the same power the state has -- equal-equal."

Pittsfield joined the GIC last year, but it needed approval from its 17 municipal collective-bargaining units to do so. The city's collective bargaining units had already agreed to pay a greater share of their health insurance costs a few years before.

North Adams Mayor John Barrett III, whose city has not joined the GIC, said he is in favor of the initiative, referring to the legislation as an important municipal-relief proposal.

According to Barrett, the North Adams Teachers Association expressed an interest in joining the GIC last year, but the city determined the amount that it would save didn't justify joining the state-run plan.

"We want to offer different [health] plans so that our employees can have an a la carte menu," Barrett said, adding that, "we can't do that now."

When North Adams recently tried to raise the rates for municipal employees' health insurance by 1.5 percent, the Massachusetts Teachers Associa-tion filed an unfair labor practice on behalf of the North Adams Teachers Association, Barrett said.

"Many unions strongly oppose it," Widmer said. "But the reality is it saves union jobs because there's a direct connection between the growth of health care and the number of people you can afford on your payroll. It's not complicated."

MTA officials could not be reached for comment on Friday. But according to a statement on the MTA's Web site, the organization is opposed to the MMA-backed proposal because it would not only allow city and town officials to bypass the collective-bargaining process, but also do away with the dispute-resolution process that would kick in if the two sides are unable to agree.

In a statement on its Web site, the MMA says that the proposal, "would save more money, more quickly and more efficiently than any other option, including joining the state plan, which doesn't work for many communities."

The state Senate approved an amendment to its fiscal 2010 budget proposal that used the GIC as a benchamark for determining the cost of insuring municipal employees. The proposal would have preserved both the collective-bargaining and dispute-resolution process, according to the MTA's statement, but the initiative was not included in the final budget that was sent to Gov. Deval L. Patrick.

"The legislature really hasn't engaged this issue yet," Widmer said, adding that it could be this year or next year before it acts on the proposal.

The proposed legislation does contain protections for municipal employees and retirees by providing a standard that would prevent municipal officials from gutting a health plan, Widmer said.
-
To reach Tony Dobrowolksi - (413)496-6224 - tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/TRDJV2MFDATR2E5QR
-
----------

"Alcombright to challenge Barrett for mayor"
New England Newspapers Inc.: The Berkshire Eagle & The North Adams Transcript, 4/6/2009 - Monday, April 6, 2009

NORTH ADAMS — There will be a race for mayor in November.

City Councilor Richard J. Alcombright told the media today that he will announce his bid Tuesday morning at his home to unseat longtime incumbent John Barrett III.

Alcombright, a Hoosac Bank vice president and city native, is serving his fourth full term as city councilor and has been a member of the McCann School Committee since 1991. He was appointed by the council in 2000 to fill the unexpired term of his late father, longtime City Councilor Daniel F. Alcombright Jr.

Barrett, the longest-serving mayor in Massachusetts, is in his 13th term. He will face his first substantial opposition since he defeated Paul Babeu, a former city councilor and county commissioner, in 2001 for the second time.

Alcombright was the top vote-getter for councilor in the 2001, 2005 and 2007 city elections.

Alcombright was not immediately available for comment. In an e-mail to the media, he said he would issue a press release and take questions at Tuesday's news conference.
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/T263O5P03M80B4988
-
----------

"The race is on"
The North Adams Transcript, Editorial, 4/8/2009

City Councilor Richard J. Alcombright surprised very few locals with his announcement Tuesday, as the city has been abuzz for months with word of his potential run against John Barrett III, the dean of Massachusetts mayors.

What may have surprised some, however, is that Mr. Alcombright chose to run this year, as opposed to waiting two more years for Mr. Barrett to retire, as the mayor has made it known privately that he would.

Nonetheless, the die is cast, and let the campaign begin.

Mr. Alcombright, a bank vice president, four-term councilor and longtime member of the McCann School Committee, certainly promises to be the most formidable opponent Mr. Barrett has faced in 13 elections. Already we predict a lively campaign, heavy turnout and a close vote in November.

There is little doubt the mayor has garnered a few enemies over the past quarter-century who are chaffing for change in the Corner Office. His "tough guy with a temper" reputation and extremely hands-on management style have rubbed some the wrong way -- although few can argue about the positive changes he has helped wrought, as North Adams has undergone a remarkable resurgence under his leadership. Also, taxes have remained low and services consistently excellent.

Mr. Alcombright brings a "nice guy" rep but to our minds has done nothing remarkable as a city councilor (has anyone?).

So, our initial reaction to the campaign is, why change horses in the middle of the stream -- especially when you have an experienced hand guiding the reins?

The current economic crisis for municipalities in Massachusetts is no time for on the job training, and we would like to see Mr. Alcombright prove his savviness -- and yes, a little toughness -- which will be needed in the coming two years. Mr. Barrett has already shown his savviness and toughness, and no one has more experience. He is more than familiar with state politics and the powers that be, and at this time we see no reason to vote him out. Mr. Alcombright could make a good mayor, but he may be a wiser choice in 2011 than in 2009.

That said, we will pay close attention to the coming campaign and hope for lively and intelligent debate on the issues. We will examine Mr. Alcombright's record -- and Mr. Barrett's -- carefully in the coming months and will listen closely to what each have to say about the city's future. It's a future that, either way, looks bright, in part because of each man's formidable public service.

----------

"Barrett failed on Reservoir Road"
The North Adams Transcript, Letters, 6/23/2009

To the Editor:

It is nice to see that Reservoir Road is finally receiving a long overdue upgrade. What is not nice to see is that Mayor John Barrett III has failed to provide the citizens of Reservoir Road with long-promised and much-needed municipal sewer.

A couple of years ago, when this project was first announced, Mayor Barrett came before the North Adams City Council and publicly promised zero-percent-interest loans for residents to install septic systems to fix failing systems. This promise was dismissed by Mayor Barrett when a citizen called to take him up on the offer. The current mayor has failed to take action at an opportune time to upgrade city services to those most in need.

Residents of Reservoir Road, Pattison Road, Daniels Road, Woodlawn Avenue, Upper Notch Road and West Shaft Road are in need of public sewer. Those residents pay the same tax rate as everyone else in the city yet are not afforded the same services.

Repaving a road and failing to install basic public utilities is nothing short of a dismal failure to provide service in an area that Mayor Barrett himself has labeled "the next location for development" in our city. The response to the failure to install sewer now, I’m sure, will be that the city could not afford it. However, the city has been able to afford some $1 million to "mothball" the Mohawk Theater. The city has been able to afford over $500,000 to purchase property and have it sit empty. The city has been able to afford over $300,000 to purchase the armory and use it on a limited basis.

The repaving and widening of Reservoir Road was paid for with a federal grant at a cost of over $2 million. Installing sewage pipes before the paving would have been the most cost-effective and the right thing to do for our citizens. Our city infrastructure is crumbling -- we still have wooden water pipes that were installed over 100 years ago.

Our infrastructure isn’t the only thing that is crumbling. By not replacing key positions in City Hall, Mayor Barrett has failed to provide our citizens with a knowledgeable and progressive city government. Recent retirements of key personnel has caused a gap in many of the services offered to our citizens.

It is unfortunate that Mayor John Barrett has chosen to promote his personal agenda over an agenda that is right for the taxpayers of North Adams.

Christopher J. Tremblay
North Adams, Massachusetts
June 20, 2009
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/north-adams-transcript/TCDH1503Q2DBM16J5
-
----------

"Trust broken with North Adams unions"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letters to the Editor, Monday, July 6, 2009

We hope we are wrong, but our analysis, based on documents provided by the city of North Adams, shows that during 2005-2008 the city underfunded the Medical Insurance Trust Fund by failing to pay nearly $1.8 million into that fund for health insurance costs that would have ensured they pay their share of the premium costs. Because of that, our analysis also shows that during those same years, the city overcharged retirees and employees over half a million dollars.

This is a violation of our contracts and therefore a violation of labor law. Grievances have been filed and charges have been filed with the Mass. Division of Labor Relations. We believe the Medical Insurance Trust Fund should be subject to an independent audit. In response to our concerns about the inappropriate management of the trust fund, it seems like the city has turned its back on transparency and therefore, accountability.

For instance, weeks ago, the city met with employees and retirees on the Insurance Advisory Committee, which is a legally mandated committee designated to discuss the health insurance plans. Before the meeting, the public employees asked the city to substantiate the health of the trust fund. Instead of accounting for how it has managed the trust fund, the city announced additional hikes in insurance costs. The city provided us no documentation about the health of the trust fund.

Bottom line -- our analysis shows that city employees have been shouldering more than their 30 percent share of health insurance costs for at least the four years in question. Our analysis shows that this has cost employees and retirees, many of whom reside in North Adams, over $600,000. What about the last 20 years?

Last year the mayor refused to join a state health insurance plan that could have saved an estimated $1.5 million for city employees and citizens. Why did he attack us for even asking for discussion? Were we asking too many questions? We had to; our health insurance costs have been among the highest in the state. And now, it seems, we have been paying more than our share.

This year the mayor finally agreed to sit down with all of the unions to bargain over health insurance. Why now? The trust has been broken. We believe the city can no longer afford to be self-insured and that the mayor realizes he can no longer use employees to subsidize the Medical Insurance Trust Fund by overcharging us. We request that the city conduct a full and independent audit of the health insurance trust fund. It's time for transparency.

SUSAN CHILSON

BRIAN KELLY

PETE ROBARE

North Adams, Massachusetts

Susan Chilson is president, North Adams Teachers Association. Brian Kelly is president, North Adams Police Association, Local 382. Pete Robare is president, North Adams Firefighters Association, Local 178.
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/TCOEH89UM1PF6EKGL
-
----------

"Insurance woes"
The North Adams Transcript, Editorial, 7/8/2009

Three North Adams unions have leveled serious charges against the mayor and the city regarding health insurance payments (Transcript story, Tuesday, July 7), and these charges should be investigated immediately and thoroughly by the proper authorities.

Mayor John Barrett III has obviously denied the claims from the police union, firefighters union and teachers union that the city has overcharged employees and retirees by $600,000 since 2005 and has not paid its fair share of health insurance benefits. As is their right, the unions have filed grievances with the state Division of Labor Relations.

Already, enemies of Mayor Barrett and forces with the Dick Alcombright campaign for mayor are chomping at the bit, pointing fingers and jumping up and down in their efforts to discredit the mayor. We suggest that they and everyone else sit back and wait for the facts to come in before jumping to conclusions.

Let the state Division of Labor Relations do its job and complete its investigation. If necessary, let there be an independent audit of the city’s Medical Insurance Trust Fund, as the three unions have demanded -- an audit that goes beyond just checking to see that the books are balanced.

Insurance trust funds are complicated, and very few laymen understand how they work. We find it telling that Mr. Alcombright, a city councilor, was among the first to admit that, saying of himself and fellow councilors: "I would also suggest that many of us don’t understand how the trust fund works."

That doesn’t promote a lot of confidence in the governmental body that supposedly oversees the city’s finances. Now is the time for everyone -- the council, the public at large and this newspaper -- to find out how the trust does work and to get to the bottom of this mess.

If the city has failed to pay its 70 percent share of insurance payments and wrangled more than a 30 percent share from employees and retirees, the mayor and others will have some explaining to do -- and perhaps will face serious charges from entities more powerful than the unions. If the claims of malfeasance are unfounded or frivolous, the unions will have some explaining to do.

Right now, all we have are charges and counter charges. Let’s get the facts before demanding that heads roll or blood be let.
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/north-adams-transcript/TFR99E6D72EISS0MP
-
----------

"Audit request goes to council"
By Ryan Hutton, North Adams Transcript, 7/14/2009

NORTH ADAMS -- Three city unions have officially requested that the finance committee audit the city's medical insurance trust fund, and City Councilor and mayoral candidate Richard J. Alcombright has put the issue on tonight's city council meeting agenda.

Alcombright, who is also a member of the finance committee, said he wants the matter to go before the city council and then the finance committee so that any misunderstanding can be cleared up and both the council and the public can get better acquainted with how the fund works.

"I think that the city employees are really questioning the apportionment of the 30/70 split in the insurance premiums and how those things are allotted," Alcombright said. "It's my understanding that they've requested information from the city and were given some figures that they think clearly bear out a discrepancy. My thought is that if we get this to the council and then the finance committee for further study, I think it's a good thing."

In a brief letter to the finance committee, the heads of the teachers, police and firefighters unions ask for an audit of the trust fund to determine if the city has been paying its 70 percent share of premium costs and that the employees have been paying no more than their required 30 percent share. They also ask for an audit of the history of the trust fund to make sure that it is "funded fully and appropriately."

Finance Committee Chairman Mike Bloom said Alcombright has every right to bring the letter to the city council but added that he thinks it is more for clarification purposes.

"I wasn't sure if he was going to do it or not," Bloom said. "Apparently he's interested in it. I've already spoken to the mayor about it and hopefully it can be better explained and clarified for people that have further questions about it."

Alcombright said he is concerned that the unions and the council, including himself, don't fully understand how the self insurance process works including how it's funded and how disbursements are made. He added that he is unsure if an actual audit is warranted.

"I haven't seen any numbers that [the unions] have," Alcombright said. "They certainly think that they are solid, and again I think this goes back to the GIC and the request to move to the GIC last year. It's all part of the ‘what's going on with insurance in North Adams?' question. The biggest thing at this point is that if we can put it in front of the finance committee we can have several meetings where we can learn about the insurance, we can learn about the union numbers, we can learn about the administration numbers and hopefully clear this matter up."

Mayor John Barrett III said he was unsure why the matter is being brought before the council but is not opposed to it.

"Let [Alcombright] make his argument to the council," he said. "And we'll see how it goes."

Alcombright said the crux of his point is for the council to take a proactive stance on the issue through the finance committee. He also responded to comments Barrett made last week referring to Alcombright's lack of involvement in the matter up until now.

"The fact of the matter is, I had met with some of the union leadership when I announced my run for mayor," Alcombright said. "One of the things they mentioned was that they had requested information from the city on this insurance trust. Beyond that, I had no idea if and when they were going to return a report or if numbers were even going to be available beyond that. This all kind of came as a surprise after we had gone over the budget. Also the numbers the mayor came up with were very consistent with the previous year. I had no reason to question it then."
-
To reach Ryan Hutton, e-mail rhutton@thetranscript.com.
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/north-adams-transcript/TDGUCLTQ8JH23ESAS
-
----------

"North Adams Council denies audit motion"
By Ryan Hutton, North Adams Transcript, 7/15/2009

NORTH ADAMS -- Despite the efforts of City Councilor Richard Alcombright and the heads of the police, fire and teachers unions, the city council voted down a motion Tuesday night to have the city’s medical insurance trust fund audited by the finance committee.

The unions have already filed grievances with the state Division of Labor Relations claiming that the city has not been fully funding its share of the trust while overcharging employees since 2005. The three unions also recently sent a letter asking the finance committee to review the fund, and Alcombright -- also a mayoral candidate -- brought it to the council’s attention.

"I have said I don’t fully understand the medical insurance trust, and I went on record as saying I don’t think many of us do," Alcombright said. "ŠThe mayor has pointed out many times in the last several months and we all know that we are in dire financial times. I want to make it very clear that my only interest in all this is to learn much more about the process, get some answers with respect to the issues and determine if there is any financial liability to the city."

Alcombright made a motion that the trust fund be sent to the finance committee for review and that he be removed from the committee when it came to the trust fund.

City Council President Alan L. Mardin said he would take the second part of the motion under advisement, but City Counselor Gailanne Cariddi said she did not think Alcombright needed to remove himself from the finance committee for the issue. The motion was reworked to include only sending the matter to the committee and two hours of debate began.

North Adams Teachers Association President Susan Chilson said that the unions started their investigations into the cost of North Adams’ medical insurance in 2008 and by the spring of this year had "discovered enormous problems" in the city’s insurance setup.

"After examination of information from the city, [it was] concluded the city was not paying its 70 percent share of premium cost for the last four years." Chilson said.

When he finally spoke, Mayor John Barrett III questioned how Alcombright and some of his fellow councilors could claim they don’t understand the trust because they voted its annual appropriation and he has explained it to them many times.

"Since 2002, at various times, I have come to this council and asked you for appropriations transfers of $1.3 million into the trust," he said. "During that time, I explained it all to every member of this city council. The only one that wasn’t here was Lisa Blackmer. I’ve gone through budgets thoroughly Š There was no problem in North Adams and there is no problem today."

Barrett maintained that because the unions had filed a grievance on the matter they should meet again with the state appointed mediator -- whom Barrett claimed has ruled against him close to 85 times over the years -- instead of just walking away and trying a different tactic.

Chilson along with North Adams Police Association President Brian Kelly and North Adams Firefighters Association President Peter Robare maintained that while the city had never been delinquent in paying out any heath insurance claims, it had not proven to their satisfaction that it was paying its fair share.

Barrett said the premiums are all being paid and if the employees are shelling out 30 then the other 70 has to come from somewhere, namely, the city. When asked to prove it, Barrett said "I don’t have to. I don’t have to prove anything."

Barrett went on to say:

"I’ve been mayor for 26 years, and never once have we ended the fiscal year without a balance in the trust," he said. "We’ve been accused of tapping the trust for all kinds of other projects over the years, and it’s just not true. In seven or eight years, we’ve never had an increase in co-pays and our rates are less than GIC’s for a comparable plan."

The final vote was 4-3 against sending the matter to the finance committee with Richard Alcombright, Ronald Bouchard and Robert Moulton voting ‘yes’ and Lisa Blackmer, Gailanne Cariddi, Marie Harpin and Alan Mardin voting ‘no’. City Counselors Mike Bloom and Clark Billings were absent.
-
To reach Ryan Hutton, e-mail rhutton@thetranscript.com.
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/north-adams-transcript/T6531VUR3T4UQNQS9
-
----------

"City owes unions on insurance"
The North Adams Transcript (Online), Letters to the Editor, September 21, 2009

To the Editor:

In the Transcript article from Sept. 9, Mayor Barrett described as "most outlandish" a claim by North Adams Teachers Association President Susan Chilson that the city’s labor attorney, Fernand Dupere, had acknowledged that the city does not always pay 70 percent of the health insurance premiums for public employees and retirees.

Well, we all were at the meeting, and we all heard this admission. Perhaps Attorney Dupere spoke out of turn at this meeting. But speak he did. Mayor Barrett was not at the meeting. Chilson was, and she took notes, as all good teachers do!

At this meeting, we asked the city questions about the current health insurance trust fund. We asked if the city paid 70 percent of the premium costs, as it is contractually required to do. Mr. Dupere told us: "Sometimes the city pays 70 percent, depending on the year."

Finally! The city admitted what our own independent analysis established months ago -- the city does not always pay its share of health care costs and instead overcharges employees and retirees. The city just pays the difference between its health insurance costs and the employees’ contributions. Sometimes the city pays 70 percent as required by contract, but we believe that more often it doesn’t.

When the city overcharges employees, the city needs to reimburse them. That hasn’t happened, to the tune of over $600,000, by our analysis.

But let’s talk about the future.

Time is running out to save money for our community. Our health insurance costs are about 25 percent higher than in many other nearby communities. The city, taxpayers, employees and retirees could all save money by switching insurance plans. In order to get into the state’s less expensive health plan, we need to reach an agreement with the city by Dec. 1. We can’t afford to miss this deadline again. Last year, this missed deadline cost us an estimated $1.5 million in savings. Enough is enough.

If the city disputes Susan Chilson’s account and ours, or disputes our conclusions, then it should open its books and let an independent professional decide. Otherwise, Mayor Barrett, it is time to pay up and to work with us to find more affordable insurance.

Brian Kelly
North Adams, Massachusetts
September 16, 2009
-
The writer is president of North Adams Police Association Local 382. The letter was also signed by Peter Robare, president of North Adams Firefighters Local 1781; Glenn Robert of North Adams DPW Teamsters Local 404; Jeanne Lapine, president of North Adams Paraprofessional Association; Stephen J. Finnigan, sub district director of United Steelworkers of America, and Deb Alves, teaching assistant and shop steward of United Steelworkers of America.
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/north-adams-transcript/T9FJM1NK6H2B939NF
-
----------

"Union is still at odds with city"
By Jennifer Huberdeau, The North Adams Transcript, 9/25/2009

NORTH ADAMS -- A feud between the city and the North Adams Teachers Union continues after attempts by a state mediator have failed to bring the two sides together over health insurance costs.

However, each side claims the mediation sessions were ended for different reasons.

The two sides have been at odds since July, when Union President Susan Chilson requested an independent audit of the city's health insurance trust fund be performed by the City Council. The council denied the request, with four votes against the audit and three votes in favor.

The union claims that the city has failed to continuously pay its 70 percent share into the fund over the past several years, which Chilson says results in city employees footing more than their 30 percent share of health insurance costs.

Alison Harris, spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, said Tuesday that the department "could not offer comment" on the proceedings.

"It's my understanding that the mediator ended the sessions because the city failed to supply information by a set deadline," Chilson said on Wednesday. "We had provided all the information that we had compiled and were waiting for the information we had requested which proves the city has paid its 70 percent. That's the bottom line for us. Deadlines have to be set, otherwise things will carry on forever."

She said that once the deadline passed last week, the mediator "said enough is enough and closed the session."

"I have heard that the city provided some information after the deadline," she said. "However, we have not seen that information. I don't know what will happen to it. I do know that our grievances, which have been on hold with the state Division of Labor, will now go before the school committee."

But according to Mayor John Barrett III, the sessions were ended when the teachers union walked away from the process.

"The city did hand over all the information that was requested," he said on Thursday. "There was no deadline and the mediator fully understood that [acting Treasurer] Nancy Ziter was waiting on one final report to come in. Although I'm not directly involved in the process, I had a conversation with the mediator and know that he shared that information with [Massachusetts Teachers Association representative] Cindy Polinsky."

The mayor said the mediator offered to set up another mediation session, but that Polinsky declined.

"I think [the mediator] was just disgusted with the process," Barrett said. "He told me that he could force the two groups to meet, but that he didn't see any sense in it since the union had indicated it wants to proceed with the grievance process. I know that our lawyer also followed up with a letter to Polinsky for one more meeting, but she declined."

Chilson, however, is adamant the teachers union is still open to discussion.

"We did not walk away," she said. "We have tried very hard to make this work. If the city wants to talk any further, we are always willing. Obviously, it won't be in a mediation session."

Barrett said he expects the grievances will now proceed on to the school committee.

"I don't know why this continues to go on. Maybe it's just the political season, but it is discouraging," he said. "This whole process is just mindboggling. They recently filed a grievance challenging the city's right to raise employee insurance rates by 11 2 percent. Again, they're tying up our time with frivolous claims that the school committee will have to deal with."
-
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, e-mail jhuberdeau@thetranscript.com.
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/north-adams-transcript/TR1QSR3FEAS7CI6TS
-
----------

"North Adams union says city owes $2M to trust fund"
By Jennifer Huberdeau, North Adams Transcript, November 5, 2009

NORTH ADAMS -- Union officials presented the North Adams School Committee with documentation Wednesday night that they say proves the city has shortchanged the Health Insurance Trust Fund by $2 million over the last five years.

"This is the information we tried to give to the City Council," Eileen Gloster, union member and Brayton Elementary School teacher, said after the meeting. "We felt that we were heard and that the School Committee wanted to know if something is wrong, and if it is, to fix it."

Gloster and Susan Chilson, teachers union president, presented the documentation, which shows the city paying 67 percent of employee health insurance costs over the last five years instead of 70 percent, during an open grievance hearing at the School Committee’s monthly meeting. The union filed a formal grievance in September with the state Division of Labor and Workforce Development after mediation attempts between the city and the union were shut down by a state mediator this summer.

School Committee members voted unanimously to take the information under advisement and to continue the hearing in order to go over the data independently, acting on the advice of the school department’s counsel, attorney Fred Dupere. Mayor John Barrett III, who serves as chairman of the School Committee, did not attend the meeting.

"I think it’s important for everyone in this room to remember that this information represents just one side from one organization and has not been verified by us," Vice Chairwoman Heather Boulger said.

During an hour-long presentation, union officials charged that the city has failed to keep up its contractual agreement of paying 70 percent of employee health insurance costs and in the process had overcharged employees and eliminated an account surplus that could have reduced employee premiums.

City employees are charged 30 percent of insurance premiums -- a rate based on projected insurance costs for the coming year, according to Chilson, who said the city is expected to pay 70 percent of the premiums.

"All of this money then goes into the trust fund," she said.

Money in the trust fund is then used to pay the actual costs of the insurance claims and a stop-loss insurance policy.

"The city isn’t paying the 70 percent of the premium cost," Gloster maintained. "It’s not even paying 70 percent of the actual cost. It’s paying what’s left over of the actual cost after the employee payment is used."

According to the union’s data, which was compiled from documents provided by the city and state ledgers, the total amount that should have been paid into the health insurance trust over the last five years is $26,549,587, with the city paying $18,584,711 and employees paying $7,964,877.

However, research conducted by Boston Benefits Partners LLC for local unions, shows that the actual amount paid into the trust over five years was only $24,387,458, with the city contributing $16,337,624 and the employees paying in $8,007,148 -- a split of 67 percent and 33 percent.

"In simple terms, it’s me having to pay $3 and the city having to pay $7," Christopher Caproni, former union president, said. "When the bill comes in, it’s $8, but the city hasn’t paid its $7 yet and instead only puts in the necessary $5. That $2 should go somewhere. In reality, it should have been in the trust fund, where it could help decrease premium costs the next year. In some years, the trust fund has shown a deficit because that money wasn’t there, where it was supposed to be."

Union officials said their request is twofold: for the School Committee to ensure that it begins paying its 70 percent share through the city immediately and for the district to repay the missing $2 million to the trust fund.

School Committee member William Schrade Jr. questioned why the grievance was brought to the district, as opposed to the city.

"The city gives us the bill, and we pay it," he said.

Dupere explained the responsibility of a grievance falls to the School Committee because it holds the contracts with the unions, regardless of which entity puts the money into the trust fund.

"Realistically, you must discuss this with the mayor’s office," he said. "The [unions] have made it clear they are willing to work to examine this issue to see if there is a liability, and if there is, what the appropriate response is."
-
www.topix.net/forum/source/north-adams-transcript/T0ELBFSLIP289CUFB
-
----------

"North Adams better off in age of collaboration"
By John Seven, Op-Ed, The Berkshire Eagle, August 17, 2015

NORTH ADAMS - There's something I call "the North Adams whisper" that used to exist when I first moved here 13 years ago. It was a hushed tone that was taken when criticizing then-Mayor John Barrett III.

It was as if he could be behind any corner. It was explained to me that he could be — not him personally, but you never knew who would report back to him.

If you wonder what has changed the most about North Adams in the six years that Barrett has not been mayor, I would say it's the level of paranoia. This can be measured in the contented smile of a person sitting on a public bench on Main Street. Benches weren't allowed under Barrett's leadership, a symbol of the uninviting quality that hung over the city then.

What else has changed? When the current mayor, Dick Alcombright, walks down the street in open daylight, people greet him and he greets them back, as if we're all equal citizens of the very same city.

These things have been on my mind and the minds of many people I know when the former mayor revealed that he may run again.

DELICATE CONTRAPTION

As we live in the post-Barrett North Adams, we have certainly seen some problems. Some of them are out of the control of anyone, but some of it is fallout from the Barrett years, in which the systems and finances of North Adams were a delicate contraption that was kept moving by Barrett's particular brand of micro-management.

Without him in the center ring, the cracks in the entire big top began to show through, and revealed that Barrett was akin to any masterful ringmaster who directs his audience's attention to where he wanted them to look.

And he was a ringmaster. A fact of being a journalist through the Barrett years was that you could not get a comment from any city official or employee without going through Barrett first. And sometimes he wouldn't allow comment. It's the sort of information lockdown that you expect out of the big bosses in Chicago and New York, but a place like North Adams?

NEW YOUNG FACES

I know there are people out there who see Barrett as someone who can get things done. What I stress is that the only way he could get things done is through his micro-management.

He is not remembered as the best collaborator and in the six years he has been absent from the corner office, the city has become home to a number of key collaborators with their own authority, drive and egos.

He ought to know this, since when he returned briefly as city councilor. It wasn't ever to any great effect, but he couldn't have missed the new young faces appearing and exhibiting more authority and energy.

This is not a North Adams that will indulge in the whispers any longer. There are too many prominent movers and shakers who aren't afraid of anyone.

That is why Barrett's style is no longer appropriate to the success of North Adams. You could say the city has finally achieved what it was inevitably leading to with Barrett's focus on the arts. It now has an involved citizenry with a stake in local government, and the energy and desire to make their own changes.

Not only do we have political leaders, but civic and business ones, from a variety of backgrounds, that sprung not from a desire for power, but a desire for community. They all try to work together and with North Adams citizens, understanding that the future of the city will be a communal effort.

No saviors need apply.

John Seven, a writer, lives in North Adams. He can be reached at mister.j.seven@gmail.com or at vknid.com.

----------

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.